Frequently Asked Questions


Are there a lot of plant-based options on campus?

What is Forward Food? 

Forward Food is an international program that works with an array of diverse organizations, institutions, and other partners to transform menus by including more plant-based options. 

The Forward Food team is comprised of registered dietitians, chefs, and foodservice professionals, who support the idea that as a society, we ought to be focusing more on plant-based foods as a means of creating a better food system.


Plant-Based at the University of Guelph

As Canada’s food university, we’re not sitting down to lunch without first carefully considering what we're serving. That is why we joined the international Forward Food campaign and have transformed our menus on campus to transition 20% of meat protein on our menus to plant-based proteins.

To date: 

  • We have hosted a 2-day Forward Food workshop/ chef training for approximately twenty of our UofG chefs/apprentices from various kitchens on campus to review the recipe book for plant-based menu items and work together to incorporate more recipes into our menus. 
  • We're working with Forward Food's team to transition 20% of meat protein on our menus to plant-based proteins. You can learn about some of the ways we're doing this below. 
  • We currently offer various plant-based meals, snacks, and desserts across campus and even have a rotating selection of 25 plant-based bowls, which have become one of our most highly requested and sought-after menu items. 
  • We think education about plant-based diets is vital, and that is why this fall semester, we will be extensively promoting plant-based menu options and features on our social media channels.


Plant-Based Menu Options

To accomplish more plant-based menus on campus, we have introduced the Beyond Meat burger, 100% plant-based, which has been a huge hit so far! You can find this burger at the Royal City Grille in the UC's Chefs' Hall. We have also incorporated Beyond Meat's (crumble product similar to ground meat) into dishes like pizza, poutine, sandwiches, wraps, etc. You can see this Beyond Meat crumble marked on the menu, so keep your eye out for it! 

This fall, we're offering the sustainable smash burger- which our supplier locally makes VG Meats - a 100% Ontario beef burger made with 28% mushroom stems (which would be food waste if not used) - this not only reduces our meat-based protein for a more sustainable menu option but at the same time helping to reduce food from becoming waste. 


We offer various plant-based kinds of milk at our cafe locations for your specialty and traditional beverages. When you're ordering a drink, ask the barista for your plant-based milk options. If you're using a self-serve station when getting a beverage, look out for the signs in the unit displaying where to find these plant milk options, as they are often stored in a nearby fridge.

Plant-Based Resources

Find Forward Food Recipes
link to the Waste Wizard web app
Participate in Meatless Monday
link to the get involved page
Plant-Based #UofGCampusFood
Can I use a reusable mug on campus?

Did you know that you can get any beverage for only the price of a small when you use a reusable mug? That's just one of the many incentives we offer to encourages the use of reusable mugs.

We're also proud to offer I am Reusable loyalty cards to encourage reusable mug usage.

Upon completion of your loyalty card, you can submit it to a cashier at any Hospitality Services location, and you will be entered into a monthly draw to win a $25 Hospitality Services gift card. The winners of the month are posted publicly at our Hospitality Services locations as the Sustainable Person of the Month.

Our reusable mug‑focused initiatives don't stop there. Every Monday, we have dedicated ourselves to celebrating reusable mug users by doubling the stamps given on their I am Reusable loyalty cards. You'll often find promotions of this day on our social media channels.

How can I reduce waste while dining on campus?

How to Join the #iamreusable Program: 

  1. Ask for it: When ordering your meal in our dining hall, ask for a green container. 

  2. Join the Program: When you're paying for your meal at the cash register, you will have to pay a one-time non-refundable $5 fee to join the program.   

  3. Enjoy your meal: Once you've paid, you're welcome to take your green container wherever you'd like to enjoy your meal. The benefit of the green container is that it is sturdy than compostable containers, so it makes for a better vessel for transporting your meal across campus, as well as for saving any leftovers you have. 

  4. Return it: Once you are finished with your meal, please return the container to an #iamreusable collection container located in a dining hall and, in exchange, get an #iamreusable card from a nearby cashier. The returned containers will then get cleaned and sanitized by our dishwashers and put back into use for others in the program.

  5. Repeat: Hold on to your program card to use for your next time dining with us on campus. 

What is a Fair Trade Campus?

The University of Guelph is proud to be known as Ontario's first fair trade campus and third designated Fair Trade campus in Canada. On November 28th, 2012, we officially became designated with help from Engineers Without Borders and the University Administration, who created a Fair Trade Campus Committee. It is now nine years later, and our commitment is stronger than ever. Our commitment to supporting farmers, community, and sustainability now goes well beyond local.

Being a Fair Trade Campus means you are dedicated and committed to supporting, promoting, and celebrating that you provide fair trade products on your campus. Fair Trade Campuses provide food and drink options on their campus hospitality services locations to ensure their campus community has the option to support fair trade practices.

We are proud to offer Fair Trade certified and organic coffee and tea at our non‑branded Hospitality Services locations, including our catering services orders. We continue to look for opportunities to add new Fair Trade confectionery products to our purchasing.

Keep a lookout on campus for the Fair Trade symbol on products such as chocolate bars, coffee, cookies, and the famous chocolate chip banana bread.

What is local?

At Hospitality Services, we define local food as grown or processed within a 200 km radius of our campus. Many of our specialty products are grown right here on the University of Guelph campus.

We're proud supporters of local farmers, businesses, and university partners, and that's why we believe our food satisfaction rates are so high.

We're proud to have the Ontario Agriculture College here at the University of Guelph. The agricultural college has allowed us to source so many specialty products right here on the University of Guelph campus and geographically surrounded us by food! We have access to incredible local farmers, businesses, and suppliers that pride themselves on contributing to our "Farm to Fork" style.

Local food in Ontario has a growing season, which doesn’t coincide with our students' return to campus. Although we buy as much local produce as we can during the regular growing season, we needed to find a way to increase our seasonal local produce purchases.

In 2012, we applied to and were awarded funding from The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. These grant monies were for broader public sector businesses that support new and innovative Ontario local food initiatives. The purpose of our proposal was to design and install a large volume vegetable processing facility on campus, which would secure our commitment to purchasing locally and storing after the harvest season.

This processing facility allows us to purchase large volumes of locally grown fruits and vegetables (in season), processed and stored in our freezers and storage facilities for use throughout the remainder of the year. There is a wide variety of fresh vegetables that freeze well, and we have been slicing, dicing, and pureeing our way to more local flavours. As new produce varieties become available, we’ll be able to branch out into many products to offer more local food on local plates. We’ve already begun creating many preserves and jarred products for use in our foodservice operations.

What is Frozen?

One of the more interesting items that we have done is 1200 lbs of the University of Guelph millennium asparagus frozen to be used in our self‑service pasta bars, asparagus soup, and quiche. This asparagus is sourced from the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming, 924 meters from our processing facility in Creelman Hall.

 We often process the local garlic scapes into a chopped blend into garlic scape pesto, making our signature aioli for sandwiches and burgers.

We blast freeze up to 100 flats of local berries each year in compotes for catering desserts.

We chop, blanch, and vac pack broccoli and cauliflower all summer to be used across campus in soups and salad bar/pasta stations.

This production facility also allows us to pickle and jar many burger toppings at the 100 Mile Grille in Creelman hall. These items include smoked roma tomato jam, house-made pickles and zucchini relish.


Where does the leftover food go?


Guelph feeding Guelph

MealCare Guelph is a student-led organization dedicated to reducing food waste and food insecurity in the local Guelph community. 

MealCare Guelph was founded in 2019 by Kiana Gibson and David Sahai, two University of Guelph students committed to reducing food waste from campus operations. Since its founding, MealCare Guelph now has a team of over 20 members who volunteer weekly to package, record and donate leftover meals from our kitchens.


Working alongside our team of UofG Chefs, MealCare Guelph has established and solidified a system for donating leftover meals from our dining halls to community partners across the City of Guelph, including the CSA Student Food Bank, the Drop-In Centre, and the Royal City Mission. 

MealCare's donation system has expanded to include donations from the Child Care & Learning Centre and Moss Family Farms. 

These donations allow for high-quality ready-to-eat meals to be donated to community organizations to be provided to our community members. 

To date, over 16,000 lbs of our high-quality campus food have been donated through our MealCare Guelph partnership. 

Food Waste Prevention 

One of MealCare's three pillars is to record and share food data with their donors, which allows them to identify where food is being wasted to reduce food waste in the long term. By providing donation data to our UofG Chefs, we can then accurately alter and change menus and amounts of food being prepared to reduce waste before it happens.

MealCare Guelph Resources

MealCare Guelph Logo
Meet MealCare Guelph
MealCare Guelph Video
Follow MealCare Guelph